Synthesis and Reaction Byproduct Characterization and Mechanistic Understanding of Hemiformal Based Hydrogen Sulfide Scavengers

J. J. Wylde*, G. N. Taylor, K. S. Sorbie, W. N. Samaniego

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
1455 Downloads (Pure)


When hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas is produced from oil reservoirs, it leads to a number of well-known problems relating to both metal corrosion and health and safety. Up to a certain concentration (∼1000s of ppm in the gas phase) the H2S can be removed by adding a chemical "scavenger" to the system, which reacts with H2S to form less harmful byproducts. A range of different chemical species have been applied as H2S scavengers in petroleum production systems, operating through either oxidative or nonoxidative mechanisms; the former group includes such species as alkaline sodium nitrite and hydrogen peroxide, and in the latter group triazine type scavengers have been very prominent. Although triazine based H2S scavengers have been hugely successful in practical and commercial terms, there have been associated issues with the related byproducts from the scavenging reaction (discussed in this work). An alternative non-triazine chemical range of H2S scavengers that has emerged in recent years has been based on hemiacetal chemistries, where a hemiacetal is produced by the reaction of an alcohol with an aldehyde. Where the aldehyde is formaldehyde, the resulting species are known as hemiformals. In this work, the synthetic chemical reaction pathway for hemiformals based on ethylene glycol and glycerol were studied. This work is novel in four major respects: (i) first, we examine hemiformal production via acid, base, and neutral catalysis systems; (ii) we perform detailed structural determinations of the oligomeric series thus produced (which are different) by analyzing the products by derivatized gas chromatography mass spectrometry and making subsequent structural assignments; (iii) we then assess the effectiveness of these species as H2S scavenging using an industry standard multiphase test methodology and make some correlation between their structure and performance; and (iv) finally, we studied the structures of product and byproducts of the scavenging reaction both before and after the scavenging reaction with H2S. This latter part of the study examines issues of byproduct structure early in the development of these newer products in order to address any problems that may be encountered "up front". This greatly facilitates our application of using hemiformals as fully optimized non-triazine based scavengers by addressing byproduct chemical analysis of these relatively new H2S scavenger systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4808-4821
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number4
Early online date6 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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